A survey of customer satisfaction, expectations and perceptions as a measure of service quality in SANBS
Background: The purpose of the study is to evaluate the service quality that the SANBS provides to its customers, by measuring customers’ perceptions and their expectations of service quality provided by the supplier of blood transfusion services. The organization that is used for this study is the South African National Blood Service (SANBS). Specifically the study seeks to:
1. Determine the extent to which customers are satisfied or not satisfied with the service they receive from the SANBS using the ten-dimensional format of SERVQUAL model, modified to the specific service quality requirements of the blood transfusion service industry.
2. Establish customers’ perceptions of the service they receive using a multiple-item scale (SERVQUAL) for measuring consumer perceptions of service quality.
3. Establish customers’ expectations of the service, and compare them to their perceptions of the service they currently receive. The comparison is made along each service quality dimension, across different parts of same service on a geographical basis, and across different customer groups on a customer category (or type) basis.
4. Recommend implementation of appropriate service quality performance improvement procedures where necessary. Study design and methods: The data for the study came from the SANBS’ customer perception and expectation survey conducted in 2005. Questionnaires were sent out to hospitals that use products and services provided by the SANBS in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal Provinces of South Africa. The questionnaire was based on the multiple-item SERVQUAL model for measuring consumer perceptions of service quality, modified and tailored to specific service quality requirements of the blood transfusion service industry. Questionnaires were sent out to 113 (69.3%) hospitals out of a total of 163 blood-utilizing hospitals in the two provinces. Of the 113 hospitals, 92 (81.4%) responded, with questionnaires rendered unusable. The final sample size is 88 and is included in the final study database.
The data is analyzed by comparing different parts of the service on a geographical basis namely KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape zones. The data is also analyzed by comparing different customer groups namely the Rural State Hospitals, the Urban State Hospitals and Private Hospitals. Results: The result confirms the research (alternative) hypothesis (H1 : ?1 ? ?2), and rejects Ho. The overall expectations ratings are higher than the perceptions ratings, and the KwaZulu-Natal expectations ratings are higher than the Eastern Cape ratings. The expectations of private hospitals and rural state hospitals have a higher rating than that of urban state hospitals and the perceptions of private and urban state hospitals have a higher rating than that of rural state hospitals.
The largest service quality gap is the accessibility dimension which relates specifically to approachability and ease with which customers can access staff at different levels of the organization by e-mail, and includes accessing of knowledgeable blood bank personnel and medical staff of SANBS, but may also relate to the distance of hospitals from the nearest blood bank, all of which are situated in urban state hospitals. The mean difference for accessibility is the highest followed by the understanding customer mean difference. The mean differences for the other dimension categories are significantly less than that of the largest two dimensions, but not significantly different amongst themselves.
The mean difference for rural state hospitals is the largest followed by private hospitals and urban state hospitals. The mean difference for rural state hospitals is greater than that for urban state hospitals in both zones, but the mean difference for private hospitals is greater in KwaZulu-Natal than in the Eastern Cape. The dimension means of differences for rural state hospitals are greater than that for urban state hospitals. According to the correlations between expectations and perceptions for different dimensions, there is a weak or no linear relationship between expectations and perceptions.
Conclusion: This empirical study supports the literature on the provision of service quality, and concludes that there is a statistically significant difference or gap between the services offered by the SANBS as perceived by its customers, and the expectations of its customers. The study substantiates the need for management of blood transfusion services to take into account customer perceptions of service quality and their expectations, and upon identification of gaps, to implement appropriate service quality improvement processes, rather than take a one sided view of their (SANBS’) own perception of service quality.
School Location:South Africa
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:investec business school
Date of Publication:01/01/2006